South Korean food company CJ CheilJedang on Tuesday said it will introduce its Cupban — instant rice accompanied by Korean soups — to Japan and Hong Kong starting next month.
Stating from early May, CJ will introduce Cupban -- spun off from its flagship instant rice line Hetban -- at some 600 7-Eleven convenience stores in Hong Kong and up 200 Natural Lawson convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan.
CJ’s Cupban, set to be launched in Japan (CJ CheilJedang)
“Cupban is going to be the next big thing in the instant food industry,” Lee Joo-eun, director of CJ CheilJedang’s Hetban brand, said in a statement. “If cup ramen was the ‘it’ overseas Korean instant food product of the past, the future is all about Cupban.”
CJ said it chose convenience stores as its main retail channel, as Cupban aims to target mostly office workers who tend to eat during work or lack space for a kitchen in their cramped homes.
Market positioning in Japan was easier than in Hong Kong, CJ officials said, due to the existing popularity of instant meals and Korean restaurants among locals. CJ consequently chose to launch low-cost versions of familiar Korean soups for Japanese consumers.
CJ CheilJedang hopes its entry into Japan and Hong Kong would help promote exports of Cupban to other Asian markets, namely China, within this year. It also aims to record more than 2 billion won ($1.75 million) in overseas sales in 2015.
By Sohn Ji-young (firstname.lastname@example.org